Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Knee-Deep in Mud and Muck and Manure . . . then Contemplating the Cosmos and Communing with God

Temples are highly symbolic of what makes our theology so radically different than the rest of Christianity - frankly, the parts of our theology that are the most compelling and mind-blowing to me.

One of my favorite quotes is from a farmer I knew as a youth. It has stuck with me for decades because of its poetry and imagery. He said, to the best of my recollection:

The wonder of Mormonism is that a common farmer like me can spend the morning with my legs knee-deep in mud and muck and manure worried about crops and cows and crap then spend the evening with my head in the clouds contemplating the cosmos and communing with God.

I'm sure he heard that from someone else, since he didn't talk like that normally and since I heard Richard Bushman say something very similar in a meeting once, but that idea of sacred space where we are able to get away from the crap in our lives and open our minds to the mysteries of the eternities really resonated with me at the time - and I still love that overall perspective, regardless of any other issues.

Jan Shipps said in a lecture I attended a couple of years ago that the day the LDS Church quits building temples and teaching temple theology is the day it ceases to be unique and fascinating to her as an outsider - and I think there is a profoundness to that view coming from someone who has spent 50 years studying Mormonism as a devout Methodist.

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